Yield: One 9-inch tart, serving 8 to 12

Cook’s notes: If you’re serving the brownie tart later and need to chill it, it’s easiest to store it in a plastic cake carrier with a lid. Lacking that, stick a few toothpicks in the tart and drape a piece of plastic wrap over them, to keep from marring the entire top. If you don’t have instant espresso powder on hand, leave it out; consider adding a few drops of mint extract instead (don’t be heavy-handed here).


1 cup sugar

1/ 2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/ 2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 1/ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/ 4 cup all-purpose flour


1 1/ 4 cup heavy (or whipping) cream

1 tablespoon espresso powder

1/ 4 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 ounces cream cheese (or, if you have an 8-ounce block, just cut it in half), softened

Garnish: Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch, removeable-bottom tart pan.

Make base: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa and butter. Whisk in the eggs one at a time just until blended; whisk in vanilla. With a spatula, fold in flour just until blended.

Spread batter in tart pan, and bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until center is just firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

Make topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream and espresso powder on medium-high speed until cream holds soft peaks when beaters are lifted; beat in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, using the same (uncleaned) beaters, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then beat 1 minute more. Scoop out a little whipped cream with a spatula and mix it into the cream cheese to lighten it, then gently fold this mixture in the remaining whipped cream until blended. Spread over cooled brownie base. If desired, place about 1 teaspoon cocoa powder in a small sieve and sprinkle lightly over tart. Serve immediately or chill.

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